•Residents at a church at Magutuni said they heard screams from the girl, so they rushed to the scene, a so-called 'witch doctor's' house.
• She had been slaughtered, and so had a goat. The men were feasting on meat -whose?
Police are holding a suspected witch doctor and his client after a nine-year-old girl was beheaded and her heart cut out in a ritual murder in Tharaka Nithi.
When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men - a 'traditional healer' and his client - eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose hearts had been ripped out.
The girl was a milkmaid who regularly delivered milk and was seeking payment.
Congregants from a nearby church said they had reprimanded Suleiman Mati Mukira 94, from Mpingu village, Kiroo sub-location and his client. The police report also named Mukira.
Congregants heard the girls' screams, raised the alarm and rushed to the scene.
The body in a gunny bag and the severed head were recovered from the witch doctor's home on Sunday afternoon.
Police said they demanded to be shown the girl who screamed and was shown a girl's headless torso.
The homeowner told police his client had slaughtered the girl as a sacrifice.
Police identified the girl as Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni who had delivered milk to the homestead.
The men turned violent when police were called to the scene and conducted a search leading to more discoveries.
The body of the child was found hidden in a goat shed. The head was found nearby.
Police said they also found slaughtered chickens whose hearts had been ripped out.
Eastern head of DCI Jeremiah Ikiao said they are trying to establish if the murder was isolated or part of serial ritual murders.
“It looks like a ritual but we will know more as investigators work on the incident,” he said. The remains of the girl were moved to the mortuary.
Police plan to produce the two in court and seek time to hold them while they conduct investigations.
“OCS Magutuni, DCI officers and SCPC Maara rushed to the scene and found the child having been killed. Her body was concealed in a goat shed, her head was cut off and placed outside the goat shed.
"Outside the compound was a slaughtered goat. Inside Mukira’s house was a slaughtered chicken and witchcraft items,” a police report seen by the Star reads.
Preliminary observation has shown that the girl’s heart was missing, police said. Witchcraft paraphernalia were found nearby. Police collected two blood-stained pangas.
Police at Ntumu station are holding the suspects as they investigate.
The body was taken to Chuka Hospital morgue for a postmortem.
(Edited by V. Graham)